Back to School Sept 2014

August 25, 2014 at 8:07 am 117 comments


This awesome logo makes ME want to go to school!

This awesome logo makes ME want to go to school!


They say that as you get old, time goes faster.  A summer now is a smaller percentage of your whole life than it was as a child so it feels like it passes faster.  That seems so unbelievably true.  The summer went by in a blink.

Back to homework and lunches.  And structure.  Wahhhhhhhhh.  

There may be a lot of activity this week in school offers and openings so I figured we could start a new post.

If you hear from any schools, feel free to post here so people can see what’s happening.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, CPS has a new logo and web site.  It’s more clean on graphics.  FINALLY, the OAE site is directly linked from CPS.  Finding everything else may take a little more time.  Find a School, which I use a lot is one extra click away now.

Other CPS news – free lunch for everyone.  I’m not sure how the logistics will work, but it should save a lot of admin time collecting, counting and transporting the lunch money.  I understand that families will still be asked to fill out income forms to determine if the school gets “low income” funding, but I’m curious if parents will have the same incentive to submit the form if the free lunch program isn’t an incentive.

Anything else new going on in your school?

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Local Enrollment for Neighborhood High Schools A walk in the PARCC?

117 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Donna Bracey  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:15 am

    In regards to the income verification forms, some schools are tying the forms directly to school fee waivers (Lindblom in particular). So I think parents will still be incentivized to complete and turn in the forms.

  • […] Back to School Sept 2014 CPS Obsessed: FINALLY, the OAE site is directly linked from CPS.  Finding everything else may take a little more time.  Find a School, which I use a lot is one extra click away now.  Other CPS news – free lunch for everdiyone. […]

  • 3. Chicago School GPS  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Thanks, CPSO, for getting us back into gear! On that note, it’s time to start marking our calendars for school tours and such. While I have yet to find many elementary CPS open houses posted, there are some HS open houses already listed on their school calendars and we try to list all we find out about on our CSG Calendar, but welcome folks sending in any dates they hear of us to post, as it’s tough finding the school tour dates in one place:

    I encourage everyone to “see for themselves” by visiting a school before making any decisions, as school fit is very personal from family to family.

    Some upcoming school fairs can help you at least visit with a few public & private school administrators/staff in one place to help get your short list of schools to visit:
    NPN’s Southside (9-20-14) & Northside (10-18-14) Fairs for the PreK-Elem set
    Hidden Gems High School Fair (9-28-14) for middle schoolers looking for HS (has workshops for students and parents, too, and discounted early bird registration ends 8/31/14)

    School, and time, definitely passes fast!

  • 4. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Awesome – thanks for all the info!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 5. Jill  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

    i got calls and emails saying my child got an offer for a “ready to learn” preschool. and that i needed to contact the school by sep. 2. however… NO INFO ON WHICH SCHOOL IT WAS?!?! I got a call, and email and my husband did too. Is that crazy? Not sure who to contact to figure out which school. digging around on the site…. eek.

  • 6. Norwood  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:52 am

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Our CPS school has instituted an annual supplies fee which is almost the cost of a year’s worth of lunches.

  • 7. patiently waiting  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Still hoping for a word from O.A Thorpe. My son is supposedly next on the list.

  • 8. Adad  |  August 25, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Where is the link to the OAE page? Personally I think the new site is a nightmare and is not user friendly at all.

  • 9. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2014 at 9:22 am

    To get to OAE, from the home page click on Students (top tab) and School Enrollment.

    I agree… not fully intuitive. This seems to be the new trend in simplicity, but sometimes at the expense of understanding where to click.

  • 10. Chris  |  August 25, 2014 at 10:09 am

    “In regards to the income verification forms”

    I’ve been practically chased by the AP to fill one out the last couple years.

    “Our CPS school has instituted an annual supplies fee which is almost the cost of a year’s worth of lunches”

    170 days of school times $2.45 = $416.50. Which school has a fee that is north of $250/kid?? [rhetorical, Norwood, since we know which school you’re talking about. Per the school’s website, it’s $100]

  • 11. Neighborhood Mom  |  August 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I must say that I LOVE the new CPS logo! So sharp!

  • 12. Keisha  |  August 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

    “Other CPS news – free lunch for everyone”

    What a joke. Waste money on crappy lunches that most kids throw in the trash, especially with the government dictating what kids are allowed to eat. Plus the added benefit of getting more people to rely on government to feed their kids. No wonder well off cities are declining government money for lunches so the kids can get a decent meal. Our children will be bringing their lunches (and we will be sticking a twinkie in each one – even though Hostess is shutting down their Illinois plant in October thanks to the unions and high taxes). Our kids know how to balance treats and exercise. No wonder this city, state and country are broke and the kids are fat, lazy and not too bright. Why bother working hard? The government will take care of you. Sad.

  • 13. Norwood  |  August 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

    @10 Chris

    Sorry – was calculating too slow and clicking submit too fast. For the sake of argument, “There’s no such thing as a — completely — free lunch.

    Watch the fees. I have a suspicion that fees can only go in one direction.

  • 14. smadness  |  August 25, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I don’t get the free lunch for everyone..seems like a waste of money since the food is gross and crappy and gets trashed by the kids anyway. I would rather see the money go towards books, fees, aides etc. We can feed our own kids. And those that can’t can still get the free lunch. Thanks but no thanks.

  • 15. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I don’t think anyone will be forcing kids to eat the free lunch. Basically cps has probably done a cost analysis and decided that the employee and admin costs of coordinating the money isn’t worth the price collected.
    Most likely the # of kids eating for free will not change but nobody will have to deal with all the loose change, record keeping etc.

    If you can send a tasty nutritious lunch for your kid every day, take a moment of gratitude.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 16. HSObsessed  |  August 25, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I’m not sure how it is at other high schools, but the LPHS school fee is $300, and then with extra textbook fees, other sundry class-related fees, plus a $15 replacement PE shirt and a $45 yearbook, it totaled just over $500 for us. Yowza.

  • 17. not2day  |  August 25, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    16. I heard Lane’s fees were higher. Still not tuition.

  • 18. WYfam  |  August 25, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    “In regards to the income verification forms, some schools are tying the forms directly to school fee waivers (Lindblom in particular).” –Whitney Young also.

    Which school has a fee that is north of $250/kid??
    Whitney Young school fee is $500 for 9th grade.

  • 19. Anonmom  |  August 25, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    I think I read that Edison is over $200 (and over $400 for K).

  • 20. Aramark stock  |  August 25, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    As an aside – I’ve heard through the legal rumor mill that ‘they’ are looking into CPS admin employees who purchased Aramark stock before the announcement of lunch for all. Insider trading.

  • 21. michele  |  August 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    @15 – I’m with you. Interesting everyone is so down of the concept of lunch for the kids. Even if kids pick out a few things to eat as they often do even from home lunches they are getting some food in their stomach. And PS for those of you who think all the food is so horrible if you only had these two CPS meals a day to eat and nothing else you may feel the food isn’t all that bad. As far as filling in the the forms – it’s my understanding every family in CPS must turn an income form in with your child’s(ern) name on it. I’ve been at 3 CPS schools and this policy has always been the case.

  • 22. RL Julia  |  August 25, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Whitney Young fees (no AP) for a freshman were $500 (plus $45 for gym uniform)
    NCP fees were $645 for a Junior (Freshman and Sophomores will pay more in computer fees) Plus $110 per class for APs. Still cheaper than tuition – although I think other SEHS’s charge less for their AP classes. Not entirely sure why.

  • 23. far northsider  |  August 25, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    The “basic” fees at Northside added up to $620; we needed to pay an additional $20 for the PSAT, so $640 all told. That’s at least $100 more than last year. The fee schedule includes another $125 for freshmen and sophomores for use of a school-owned computer, and $60 for seniors as a graduation fee.

    There’s also charges for yearbook ($45), band/orchestra ($50), padlocks for lockers ($5 each), parking permits ($175) and AP exams ($110 each).

    And our other kid’s elementary school fee is $100 this year, which in comparison doesn’t look too bad, even though it kinda is.

  • 24. CPS alum  |  August 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Compare this with many suburban high schools that require parents to buy books. Many of the texts are well over $150 each, with some classes have more than one book. This is on top of fees. $500 is a bargin compared to these schools.

  • 25. Chris  |  August 25, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    “Hostess is shutting down their Illinois plant in October thanks to the unions”

    Apologies for going off topic, BUT…that plant hasn’t had union employees since it went back on line. “Hostess” (Interstate Bakeries) filed bankruptcy after the union opted to not accept a paycut. The New Hostess bought assets only, and so wasn’t burdened with any union contract obligations.

    Apparently/supposedly, it is a reduction in demand/increase in competition that precipitated the closure, and they’re just closing the most costly plant.

  • 26. Chris  |  August 25, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    “I don’t think anyone will be forcing kids to eat the free lunch. Basically cps has probably done a cost analysis and decided that the employee and admin costs of coordinating the money isn’t worth the price collected.”

    1. I thought that CPS had to obtain a waiver? They had previously brought free-for-all (intended) to certain schools that had near 100% qualification anyway, and they recently got clearance to do it everywhere.

    2. The program is funded (largely? totally?) with federal $$. The roll-out of ‘breakfast for all’ supposedly brought more $$ into CPS than it cost. Even it is even break-even for the district (after considering reduction in staff costs), then it’s a win. If it produces $100 per year in “gain”, it’s a big win.

    I do wonder if, with no cross-checking and no possible personal benefit from ‘misreporting’ one’s family as low-income, whether the ‘low-income’ percentage will go up or down among those who actually fill out the forms.

  • 27. CPS Free Lunch?  |  August 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    26. Chris

    There are still plenty of reasons to lie on those forms. 1) for the fee waiver. 2) for programs that benefit low income students.

    One reason they implemented launch for all was due to all of the fraud around the free lunch program.

  • 28. cpsobsessed  |  August 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Random news – Senn High School has it’s biggest freshman class in a few years. Be sure to check it out for neighborhood, IB, or the arts program. Very impressive school tour.

  • 29. Chris  |  August 26, 2014 at 9:31 am

    re: All the HS’s with higher fees–

    I knew that Norwood was referring to an elementary school, and, as stated, knew which one he was referring to. I also feel like it got rolled out at that school bc (1) everyone hated buying, hauling to school, and storing all those paper towels and kleenex, etc. and (2) there’s been some downturn in funding raising participation percentage.

    What’s the fee at any of PaNJY or Lane for playing a sport?

    Think it’s funny that the Payton’s fee forms states on its face that: “Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch may also qualify for a fee waiver”–so, since *everyone* “qualifies” for free lunch, that means *everyone* may (I know it has the wiggle still) be eligible for a fee waiver?

  • 30. Chris  |  August 26, 2014 at 9:34 am

    “There are still plenty of reasons to lie on those forms. 1) for the fee waiver. 2) for programs that benefit low income students.”

    Does the Fee Waiver actually require no separate verification, too? Seriously?

    Please list/link to the programs that benefit the *individual* low-income student, rather than the school as a whole, where eligibility is tested solely on the basis of the school-lunch form. I’m seriously curious.

  • 31. School Fees  |  August 26, 2014 at 9:55 am

    “I knew that Norwood was referring to an elementary school”

    As someone suggested, Edison is $400 for K (ipads, ipads, ipads!!), and still $225 for 1-8.

    “as stated, knew which one he was referring to”

    Well, then the issue is the level of fees at that school (which you have addressed).

  • 32. Chris  |  August 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

    “As someone suggested, Edison is”

    Since none of you refer to it by its proper name, Edison Regional Gifted Center, I will disregard.

    (but seriously, that’s a lot, even with some/much of it pre-designated for tech upgrades)

  • 33. CLB  |  August 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Re free lunch, supposedly schools are going to be cooking hot food on site (no more outside prep with “warming ovens”) and so will cook based on demand at a school to avoid waste. Kids can elect to get the free lunch or brown-bag it. If the food is no good, kids will brown-bag it. A CPS staffer said that they are moving away from re-heating frozen meals. I’m skeptical that the cooking will play out, however, because many schools were told that they could not cook food on site before because their kitchens were not large enough to comply with health & safety codes. I don’t see how putting new ovens in would magically make the kitchen larger. We’ll see.

  • 34. oks  |  August 26, 2014 at 11:19 am


  • 35. SM  |  August 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Is there any elementary in Chicago with higher fees than ERGC?
    -hope Chris approves of the acronym 😉

    I think their fee is over the top for a public elementary school. Yes, I’ve heard that a portion of the fee is for tech devices. But the kids don’t even get to take them home? Its like a forced equipment rental. This is like the Comcast version of elementary school.

  • 36. licorice9  |  August 26, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    35 still waaaaay less than tuition

  • 37. Chris  |  August 26, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    “hope Chris approves of the acronym”

    I am needling some folks I know read/comment here occasionally. Couldn’t help myself.

    The presence of the fee is, I think, a bit of a balancing act with fundraising. Tho I do think that there are very few who actually *would* donate who will *not* because of the fee. Also captures some $$ from 8th grade parents who (generally…) think of themselves as done with contributions.

    The “must buy ipads” thing seems overkill, and I do wonder to what extent the amount is chosen (at a given school) with the likely fee waiver percentage in mind.

  • 38. OTDad  |  August 26, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    $400 for a schoo year seems quite reasonable, considering they are adding tech devices to facilitate learning in the classroom, where else can they find the money. Between education quality and a minimal fee, I’d choose education quality.

  • 40. West town mom  |  August 27, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Did anyone know how each school did on their ISAT/MAP/NWEA for 2014?

  • 41. CPS alum  |  August 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Look under the excel spread sheet for NWEA MAP growth report 2014

  • 42. ChiMom22  |  August 28, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I just left a message at LS2 to decline my son’s spot in Kindergarten. I’m hoping this frees up a space for someone waiting! We are Tier 3 general lottery. We’ve been super impressed with the school, staff, and parents but have accepted a spot elsewhere closer to family for afterschool care.

  • 43. ChiTown 2  |  August 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Northside fees for sophmore over $800. Then, they will hit you with a request for donations of >$800 per student to cover all the other stuff. This fundraising starts in October. I think they do that because not all the parents donate, leaving the ones who do donate with a bigger chunk of the costs!!

  • 44. ChiTown 2  |  August 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Why does CPS start school after labor day when the strike last year moved it before labor day, more in line with the suburbs? Do they realize that suburban kids now have 2-3 weeks MORE class time to prepare before standardized testing (ISAT, PSAT, ACT, SAT, AP exams for college) that puts CPS even further disadvantaged? They said previous surveys wanted to start before labor day but last year’s parent survey said 52% wanted after labor day. if they spelled out this impact on their kids learning to prep for these life impacting tests, would more parents have opted to start before Labor day? I would as my kids are bored stiff. many of their friends in the suburbs or catholic schools started 1-2 weeks ago!

  • 45. CPS Bus Newbie  |  August 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Does anyone have information about how long it takes to change your CPS bus stop? CPS policy states that kids will be assigned a bus stop “at the CPS school site nearest their home address.”

    We received our bus notice yesterday, and did not get assigned to our closest CPS elementary school (a magnet 0.4 miles away, which is an existing school bus stop for this bus). Instead, we got assigned our neighborhood school 0.9 miles from our house (and even further if you want to avoid crossing at a very dangerous intersection).

    I was told that to change the stop, we had to complete the CPS “grey form,” get the principal to sign it and sent it directly to CPS Student Transportation Services. When I dropped off the form this morning, I was told that it had to be sent to CPS Student Transportation Services via CPS snail mail, and that it would probably not even be received by CPS Student Transportation Services until after Tuesday, and that it would take a couple of weeks to get changed.

    Does this sound right? Does anyone have experience with this?

    I’ve learned to be flexible with CPS, but this is irritating, given that the school bus assignment we received violates CPS’s own policy.

    Thoughts? Advice? Thanks

  • 46. Jennifer  |  August 28, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Hated how they picked kids for Pre K. Son was waitlisted. CPS told us he was #12 to attend Dore, but got the letter and said he was #46 so he had no shot at going to Dore. Also was waitlisted at Hale too. Heard that they picked the kids for Pre K based on income is that true? It is BS if it is. Now son attends Pre K at a Catholic school near Dore.

  • 47. ChiTown 2  |  August 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    last time it took us 2 weeks to get the bus schedule changed. it had to go to the main office, to their bus contractor, and then their sub contractor. I still had to call the office and bus company to verify pick up and time. if you run into problems, you have to keep calling.

  • 48. IBobsessed  |  August 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    @45. I had same problem years ago. Just wait at the bus stop at that closest elementary school starting Tues. Talk to the bus driver and tell him your student will be on this bus, but the official paperwork is not yet complete. Don’t explicityly ask for the bus driver’s permission. Just assume your kid can be picked up there and provide an explanation if asked why you are there. Keep a low profile, be nice and schmooz if addressed directly. Don’t complain or be pushy about anything.
    This worked for me years ago. Chances are the bus driver will let you do it because it makes no difference to them where they pick up a kid, and it is easier for them not to do push back to a parent. And they understand that CPS bus paperwork is crazy the 1st few weeks. They’d rather know right away who will be where.

  • 49. IBobsessed  |  August 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Oh and get the bus co. phone no. from the school and ask them what time pick up is at that stop for your school, if you don’t have another parent to tell you.

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  August 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    @newbie – it *may* mean the closest school with a pickup (not sure if every school has pickups.)
    From what I’ve heard, expect it to take a while.
    I don’t even use the bus and I get enraged every year. These bus companies are getting huge contracts and their planning seems horrible.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  August 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Great advice, everyone!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 52. CPS alum  |  August 28, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    @chitown 2
    Many suburban schools started this week, and several started today, with half days on the first day.

  • 53. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 29, 2014 at 1:01 am

    CPS can not legally make you fill out the income form. I’m not filling it out…it’s not their business…I’m not asking for any fees waivers or AP fees cut from $89 to $10 for each exam…

  • 54. Donna Bracey  |  August 29, 2014 at 10:22 am

    @53 You can just write Not Eligible across the form and return it to the school.

  • 55. Chris  |  August 29, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    “You can just write Not Eligible across the form and return it to the school.”

    That’s basically what I have done, per advice from our AP.

  • 56. parent  |  August 29, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    @44, I wonder if they’ll move the first day to August once all schools have A/C. Everyone I know prefers an August start date — I don’t know why anyone would prefer Sept. Why can’t CPS make a change and stick with it?

    I’ve heard the argument that too many families are traveling in Mexico and won’t return before Labor Day because of airline ticket prices. Frankly, I don’t buy it. The public schools in Miami, Houston and LA all start in August. Somehow, they’ve all figured it out. Here, City Colleges start in Aug and they have a huge Latino population. The parochial schools in Chicago have all already started.

  • 57. toni  |  August 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    “Heard that they picked the kids for Pre K based on income is that true? It is BS if it is. Now son attends Pre K at a Catholic school near Dore.”

    I agree. How dare they use income to try to prioritize enrollment of low-income families in a program designed to help decrease the gap low-income students face when starting school. All those who can afford it should just enroll their kids in private schools. That’ll show em!

  • 58. Mark  |  August 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Has anyone else gotten word that outside snacks aren’t allowed by CPS this year? We were told that nothing, even if purchased was allowed for Halloween, Valentines, or any other holiday. My suspicion is that Aramark will step in to sell food trays and snacks at some point. That really won’t help with kid activities and crafts the everyone enjoyed at holidays though.

  • 59. CPS alum  |  August 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I prefer sept, and I know many other parents who do too.

  • 60. CPS alum  |  August 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and much of the east coast start in September.

  • 61. mmdemom  |  August 29, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I like starting after Labor Day. The outside snack thing might be from the Health and Wellness initiative and/or from an allergy perspective.

  • 62. nwsidemom  |  August 29, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Starting after labor day puts CPS students at a disadvantage. Several suburban high schools will be starting even earlier next year. These students will receive up to 3 weeks of additional instruction before ACT and AP tests (among other tests).

  • 63. More important than ACT prep?  |  August 29, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    @ 62 How so? Don’t those schools just end earlier in May?

  • 64. Dr Vandelay  |  August 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    ” These students will receive up to 3 weeks of additional instruction before ACT and AP tests ”

    Someone is off their meds. That 3 weeks means nothing. And if you think it does, put your kids in test prep for 3 weeks. That will help them out much more than the substandard “education” provided by CPS/CTU.

  • 65. nwsidemom  |  August 29, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    AP tests are administered on the same day across the country, regardless of start date. Ask any AP teacher(or student) if they would want 3 extra weeks to cover and review material.

    There are many schools within CPS that provide an excellent education from CTU teachers. I know my children do not receive a substandard education, and they attend our neighborhood CPS school.

  • 66. CPS mom too  |  August 29, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    Love, love, love starting after Labor Day. The last couple of weeks of August are great for vacation – very quiet at work. Just an alternative view.. 🙂 (And did fine on AP tests back in the day when school also started late relative to everyone else. No one crams until a few weeks before the test anyway. If you really want to, you can get books/course outline ahead of time.)

  • 67. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 29, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    LOVE after Labor Day start…my kids & their friends have been having fun at not such crowded places now that the other kids are in school.

  • 68. AC  |  August 29, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    For those commenting on September versus August start dates: I predict once all schools have AC we will move to year round school.

    At our school, half of the lower grade classes were absent for half or all of the 1st week of school last year when it started in August. The kids were dropping like flies and school called parents to pick up their kids before lunch – it was that hot and unhealthy/unsafe.. High asthma rates – doctors told parents who took their kids in – DUH – don’t send your kids back to school unless weather cools down.

    All in all, starting in August last year was a danger to the kids and teachers. I am sure CPS heard an earful from parents and principals.

  • 69. Stilllearning  |  August 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I have a question that I hope someone will be able to answer. How do most cps schools determine classroom assignments. Our school made a big fuss that it will take them the whole summer to accurately place the neighborhood kids according to what they claim are a “wide variety”of unstated factors. I’m just curious to know what those factors are, if this is common, and why they just don’t tell parents whatever tracking, grouping, or preference, they are using. Thanks!

  • 70. RFR  |  August 29, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    It may be selfish, but I LOVE not fighting the crowds for the last week before Labor Day after the ‘burbs have gone back to school.
    BTW, growing up in the east coast we also went back after Labor Day.

  • 71. Classroom Assignments  |  August 29, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    69. Varies by school. At most I think they try to put all the kids needing services in the same class. I think CPS got dinged on this a year ago. There is a limit – I think it is like 30% – of kids with special needs who are supposed to be in a class.

    However, I heard ISBE was looking to overturn this limit and make it 50%. They were trying to do that this past spring. Does anyone know if that got approved and is now in effect that 50% of kids can be special needs?

  • 72. FutureKMom  |  August 30, 2014 at 12:46 am

    Any suggestions on where to get the obligatory eye exams needed for Kindergarten? Are they offered for free anywhere? Thanks!

  • 73. Judy  |  August 30, 2014 at 9:56 am

    “All in all, starting in August last year was a danger to the kids and teachers. ”

    I grew up in Chicago years ago and neither our home or my school and A/C and somehow we were able to survive. Amazing we made it through. No wonder today’s kids are so weak…mentally and physically.

  • 74. parent  |  August 30, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Judy, Agree 100%. The idea that kids were in “danger” is silly. I grew up in a hotter city that Chicago, went to a school without AC, AND we started in August! I remember there being a few days in June cancelled due to a heat index over 100 every now and then, but not in August.

  • 75. Robin in WRP  |  August 30, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Regarding the bus change – it took us a year to get the bus stop moved from .9 miles to around 500 feet.

  • 76. falconergrad  |  August 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Why do they want to put so many kids needing services in one class? Is it just a scheduling thing or is there more to it?

    FutureKMom, you should have till mid October to get all requirements in order, so you have some time. There is a resource fair in the 10th district on Sept 13. See:

  • 77. blm  |  August 31, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    As an elementary ESL resource teacher, sometimes the administration has to work throughout the summer to be strategic in placing English Language Learners into classes with an ESL or bilingual endorsed teacher so that the students receive the maximum amount of hours of service, not only for the benefit of the students, but also for supplemental funding. It can be very difficult to teach a class that is split between monolingual and bilingual students, especially if they have not had much of an opportunity to acquire English. If that’s not possible, sometimes students are grouped so that a resource teacher has the ability to push into the classroom to provide service instead of pulling kids out constantly and having them miss critical instruction. If a school has a low bilingual population, I’m sure that placement can also take a while due to parents not wanting their kids to be in the same room with other students, conflicts with a teacher, shifting mobility of students etc. There are really a multitude of issues.

  • 78. MamaBlue  |  August 31, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    Did anyone else NOT receive their busing info? We were told that he wasn’t given a route yet. Seriously?? We were told to make alternate arrangements until CPS figures it out. If we could make alternate arrangements we wouldn’t need the bus in the first place. Any thoughts/suggestions? Is this typical?

  • 79. cpsobsessed  |  August 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Yes, very typical.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 80. SoxSideIrish4  |  August 31, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    68. AC | August 29, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    ‘All in all, starting in August last year was a danger to the kids and teachers. I am sure CPS heard an earful from parents and principals.’

    Yes it was dangerous and Rahm not only heard an earful, when kids didn’t show up~he got an eyeful of empty desks. & couldn’t to tout it as something that was good for the kids. He got the message heard loud and clear. Parents know what’s best for their kids and if they felt it was too hot, they kept them home.

  • 81. local  |  September 1, 2014 at 9:15 am

    My child has transferred out of CPS and we have never been so happy, school-wise. Adios. 🙂

  • 82. falconergrad  |  September 1, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Just wanted to point out a possible alternative to a traditional school:

    Don’t know much about it, one of the founders posted it on Everyblock.

    HTH someone.

  • 83. HS Mom  |  September 1, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Local – All the best to you and your family. We really have you to thank for turning us on to “One Class at a Time” College.

    Thank you for your contributions and lively discussions.

  • 84. FutureKMom  |  September 1, 2014 at 11:59 am

    For anyone else considering alternatives to traditional school- here are a few other options per Chicago Crains:

  • 85. CarolA  |  September 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    As far as how students are grouped into classrooms for the next school year……each school is different, but here’s how it works at my school and has worked this way for years:
    The current teacher (in late May or early June) places his/her current students into the next grade by room/teacher. Considerations for number of students, boy/girl ratio, even mix of ability levels, personalities of both student and teacher, etc. Sometimes we don’t have a say on where the student is placed because of the student’s needs vs. teacher qualifications. As mentioned by another poster….if a child needs a bilingual teacher (state law) or the parent does not speak English, that child is placed with a teacher that has the qualification to service their needs. In other words, I don’t speak fluent Spanish, so if I get a child who has a parent that does not speak English, I have to ask for a translator from the office every time that parent wants to communicate. It’s much easier if that student is just placed with a teacher who CAN speak fluent Spanish. There may be certain limitations for the number of special needs students that could be placed in a classroom, but the goal is to keep students IN a classroom and not REMOVE them for special services. If a SPED teacher can PUSH-IN to a classroom that has several students in need, it’s a better solution than the student missing valuable classroom time and feeling like more of an outsider. Two teachers are ALWAYS better than one. Done properly, they build on each others strengths and ALL the students benefit. Once lists are determined, it’s up to the administration to double check and make changes if needed. There are transfer ins and transfer outs as well. Lists are not finalized until late summer. Even then, things can change. Parent requests are best considered in May, not September. As a rule, we don’t switch students once placed unless necessary. I always tell my parents to make their request to me BEFORE I start working on the lists in May.

  • 87. HSObsessed  |  September 2, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Lots of cute pictures of kids going back to school this morning at Taft, Pritzker, Oscar Mayer, and more —

  • 88. HSObsessed  |  September 2, 2014 at 9:30 am

    Also, who else got the CPS robocall at 6:45 AM today?? It’s bad enough getting multiple robocalls from CPS or the school in the evening, but before 7:00 am? I know it’s just today for back to school, but still. Geez.

  • 89. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2014 at 9:40 am

    7am?? I’d have been pretty annoyed. I set the robos up to my work phone (for reasons I can’t quite recall) and that’s worked out well.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 90. IBobsessed  |  September 2, 2014 at 9:42 am

    @88. I did, in addition to 2 other robo calls last week and one over the weekend. Interrupted the morning routine to run for the phone, was ticked off when I saw the CPS robo call number. No one has time for that in the morning!

  • 91. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2014 at 9:46 am

    My big fun was my son informing me at 9pm monday night that he was planning to annotate and entire book by the morning. He’d read it but non annotated it.
    Hahahahaha – good one. I love how he becomes super motivated in the final hour before something is due!
    I think I’m going to experiment with a whiteboard or something this year to keep track of homework.

    Did anyone see that hamilton is eliminating homework for K-2?
    Conversely, word is that our reading teacher said she’ll be giving out 45 min of homework per night. I have not validated that yet.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 92. 3rd grade parent  |  September 2, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Why did the Hamilton homework policy make headines? Did Hamilton need a ‘school policy’ rather than a grade level or teacher approach?

  • 93. cpsobsessed  |  September 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Well, a policy means that teachers cannot override that, I assume.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 94. Chris  |  September 3, 2014 at 10:36 am

    ” word is that our reading teacher said she’ll be giving out 45 min of homework per night”

    If that’s (on average) 30 minutes of “read next 4 chapters” and an hour or so a week of ‘homework’, seems somewhat reasonable for 6th.

  • 95. IBobsessed  |  September 3, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Hey, yeah but that’s only 1 subject.
    Add in math homework, social studies a couple x a week, science a couple x a week, additional studying for tests, and work on a long term project and you are looking at 2-3 hours a night. (g-d forbid a kid needs to do extra work on a weak skill area there’s no time) And that is not reasonable for a 12 year old IMHO. I have found middle school CPS teachers really bad at coordinating assignments and tests with each other. Way too many tests occurring and assignments due on the same day too frequently.

    I’d like to see some teacher, somewhere, actually identify the weak skill areas of a student (actually USE the MAP score data, what a concept) and make work on THAT their homework for the year.

  • 96. Robin in WRP  |  September 3, 2014 at 11:27 am

    In elementary school, there can be some coordination of homework, so three subjects don’t have 2 hours each of homework in one night. Just wait until high school; there is no transition (not even for AC kids).

  • 97. ChicagoCPA  |  September 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Does anyone else think the portion sizes with the free lunches are much smaller than last year? I used to pay $2.45 several times per week (depending on the menu) and my son would be well fed until pickup time. Now he says the portion sizes are 1/2 what they were last year. Thanks to free lunch, it seems that I now need to start packing lunches every single day so that he can get enough to eat.

  • 98. Chris  |  September 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    “Hey, yeah but that’s only 1 subject.”

    30 minutes of reading every night should NOT be too much to ask.

    An hour of “worksheets” weekly–for the same class–might be, even with zero reading requirement.

  • 99. Robin in WRP  |  September 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Unless the only alternative was literal starvation, no one should eat that toxic waste called CPS food

  • 100. Patricia  |  September 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    @IBOBSESSED ” I have found middle school CPS teachers really bad at coordinating assignments and tests with each other. Way too many tests occurring and assignments due on the same day too frequently.

    AGREE! It drives me crazy and I have seen this at so many different schools. It really is a function of the school not “putting themselves in the kids desk/shoes”. I remember my son pointing out to me in 2nd grade that all his “homework” goes in the red homework folder………but he was confused when he got language homework because that was a different teacher and they used a different method. He got in trouble for putting his language homework in the red homework folder. WHAT? From the kids perspective, the homework folder means all homework goes in it. It has only gotten progressively worse over the years despite my efforts and suggestions to have schools develop a uniform way for homework to be assigned and coordinated among teachers to avoid pile-ups. Some minor success when one of my kids schools had teachers use Google calendar and for a brief moment they became better at balancing the workloads. (However, the tenure and alpha-dog mentality of some teachers came out and it degraded to a silly pecking order and then the school went back to the old way of no coordination and having the kids deal with the stress. After all, kids can’t file a grievance. )

    Another favorite of mine is two teachers issue a calendar of homework for the month—great. However, one teacher lists the homework as “due on the day listed”, while the other teachers lists the homework as “to be done on the day listed.” Of course, both teachers conveyed this verbally, not written on the calendar. Really? The student has to decipher and remember?

    It really is not rocket science to coordinate things and think from the student perspective. It also would have a huge impact on improving the transition to more independence in middle and high school. It is part of helping with executive function and organization skills. The lack of coordination from the schools causes so much needless floundering of students. Sorry for the rant 🙂

  • 101. ChicagoCPA  |  September 3, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    I am genuinely envious of your ability to prepare 3 lunches that are varied, nutritious and that your kids are willing to eat unsupervised every single day of the year so that you do not have to deal with a low-blood-sugar child at pickup time.
    However the reply has nothing to do with the question.
    Thanks anyway.

  • 102. NotThatLunch2  |  September 3, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    97 Send a apple with your kid. problem solved.

  • 103. IBobsessed  |  September 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    @100 Yes, what you’re describing and what I’ve seen happen only sends to kids the message:
    It’s Impossible To Manage Your Workload, So Why Even Try.

    Great prep for gov’t work, but not much else in life.

  • 104. robin in wrp  |  September 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    I have a whole list of lunches that I would be happy to send to you:

  • 105. falconergrad  |  September 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    The lunch form I got this year, unlike other years, does NOT have an attached sheet with the income limits on it. Wonder if that will change things.

  • 106. Patricia  |  September 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    @103 LOL!

  • 107. luveurope  |  September 3, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    103 Not funny. It’s interesting when the comments turn to teachers eveyone gets worked up, but it’s okay to make fun of govt workers. Let’s make fun of the CPS extra points on the fire exam, now that’s funny.

  • 108. IBobsessed  |  September 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    @107 I am a gov’t worker 🙂

    I try anyway, most do.

    I had in mind the ‘too much work and not enough hands to do it’ syndrome resulting from recent gov’t downsizing the public does not seem to know about.

  • 109. NCDad  |  September 4, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Free lunches- here’s our school policy, right from the cafeteria line workers:
    School lunch is free for all students so long as they take three items. However, if your child just gets milk, it still costs 35 cents/day.

    So they’re not eliminating the money-collecting operation. Much easier to explain the financial choices to kindergartners and allow them to navigate their options on their own.
    I can’t even explain the system to my kids, so I’ll just keep sending a lunch.

  • 110. thefourthrow  |  September 8, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    NCDad, thank you for that info! My kindergartner decided that he would keep drinking white milk, except one day a week he would get chocolate as a treat, and Friday was going to be the big day. He came home last Friday with the sad tale of having no money so got denied any milk at all, apparently since I pack his lunch. I could not figure out how the food was free but the milk had a mysterious price to it. I loaded him up with change so he’ll be prepared from now on but this is such a simple, basic, and bizarre thing not to have explained to parents on any of the “free lunch!” notifications that came home! Man, being a CPS parent is going to be like a part time job, isn’t it?

  • 111. ChicagoCPA  |  September 8, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Sad to say, but yes milk alone is 35 cents.
    I guess that they would rather you get the whole meal (actually I think it may be “3 items”) and throw the excess away. 🙂
    It is all quite silly.

  • 112. Abnken  |  September 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    About those fee waiver forms: My kids have never qualified for free/reduced lunch. My youngest son now attends Carver Military Academy and they are preventing him from participating in extracurricular activities because I won’t fill out the form. Has anyone else had this problem?

  • 113. WRP Mom  |  September 19, 2014 at 6:24 am

    @112, would you be willing to turn in a form that says “not eligible” on it, as suggested above?

  • 114. Abnken  |  September 19, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Not really. Because of the amount of fraud in past years, I don’t trust CPS with a relatively blank form with my signature on it.

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